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Silk Road Garden Chengdu China Show Garden

By garden designers Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins. The Silk Road Garden is inspired by the rich history and culture of Chengdu, capital of the ancient Chinese Shu kingdom, and since ancient times known as ‘the Abundant Land’ and ‘Nature’s Storehouse, thanks to its fertile soil and favourable climate.

Silk Road Garden Chengdu China Show Garden by garden designers Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins

The form of the garden combines architectural and planting design in a conceptual depiction of the different landscape features of Chengdu and the mountains, plains, rivers and lowlands of surrounding Sichuan Province. The garden also includes water elements in tribute to Chengdu’s Dujiangyan Irrigation System which is the oldest and only surviving no-dam irrigation system in the world, designed to automatically control the water flow of the rivers from the mountains to the plains throughout the year. Since the 3rd Century BC this 'Treasure of Sichuan' has played a crucial role in providing protection from flooding while irrigating farms and providing water resources for more than 50 cities in the province.

Silk Road Garden Chengdu China Show Garden by garden designers Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins

The planting design reflects these varied planting environments and landscapes to showcase some of the many garden plants familiar in the West that have Chinese origins. Domed forms provide main structure planting, creating an undulating ‘canopy’ to complement the curved landform of the garden. The planting includes valley zones with trees and large shrubs creating shade for lush and dense planting; sunny banks in full-sun for Euonymus alatus, Rose and Potentilla; crevices and cracks planted with Selaginella and Ophiopogon; sunny areas of moist soil for varieties of Iris, Primulas and Astilbe; shady damp areas with Hostas, Selaginella and ferns, ‘Grassland’ with species of Fescue, Meconopsis and Miscanthus.

Silk Road Garden Chengdu China Show Garden by garden designers Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins

Environmental features include insect hotels designed by school children for the architectural fins. The Silk Road and Legend of the Sun and Immortal Birds
A ‘Silk Road’ path runs the length of the garden, celebrating the commercial, cultural and horticultural legacy of the historic 4,000 mile long East/West Silk Road trade route across Asia, Africa and Europe.

Silk Road Garden Chengdu China Show Garden by garden designers Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins

At the heart of the garden the circular symbol of the ancient Chengdu legend of the Sun and Immortal Birds lies on a central theatrical plaza, and is also represented in a glowing sun suspended above the garden. The symbol is based on a 3,000 year old gold artefact recording the legend that was discovered among the Jinsha ruins in Chengdu.

Silk Road Garden Chengdu China Show Garden by garden designers Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins

Architectural design tools and techniques will facilitate move of the garden to China. The design takes full advantage of the multiple viewpoints that are a unique feature of the Triangle Site. A main London sewer runs directly under the site requiring different methods of design, engineering and construction that do not involve digging down. The garden has been designed to be moved to China, with its pre-fabricated modular structure developed allow it to be dis-assembled and delivered to Chengdu after the event to launch an ambitious city-wide project ‘Flower-shrouded Chengdu’, that will include building 20 large-scale gardens in the city suburbs.

Plant list

Structure Planting

Abelia x grandiflora
Abelia schumannii
Viburnum davidii
Osmanthus delavayi
Nandina domestica
Viburnum 'Pragense'
Viburnum rhytidophyllum
Euonymus alatus
Hypericum forrestii
Spiraea japonica 'Goldflame'
Neillia thibetica
Rhododendron (any hardy, evergreen variety)
Buddleja davidii (any variety)
Morus alba
Viburnum plicatum f. plicatum 'Rosace'
Abelia parvifolia
Loropetalum chinense
Potentilla fruticosa

 

Grasses

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'
Festuca ovina glauca 'Golden Toupee'
Festuca rubra ssp. rubra
Briza media

 

Ferns

Dryopteris erythrosora
Dryopteris wallichiana
Polystichum tsussimense
Cyrtomium fortunei
Adiantum pedatum
Dryopteris cycadina
Athyrium otophorum


Perennials

Lilium regale
Geranium wlassovianum
Liriope muscari
Artemisia lactiflora
Incarvillea delavayi
Corydalis flexuosa
Houttuynia cordata
Hosta ventricosa
Primula bulleyana
Primula vialii
Delphinium grandiflorum 'Blue Butterfly'
Euphorbia wallichii
Hosta plantaginea 'Aphrodite'
Primula beesiana
Rosa x odorata 'Mutabilis'
Hemerocallis fulva
Epimedium 'Fire Dragon'
Rodgersia pinnata
Bergenia purpurascens
Iris chrysographes
Geranium pratense
Ophiopogon japonicus
Asarum splendens
Astilbe chinensis var. taquetii 'Purpurlanze'
Paeonia lactiflora (any variety)
Maianthemum bifolium
Hemerocallis citrina
Rheum alexandrae
Euphorbia griffithii
Liriope spicata